AHIMA: Inadequate patient matching a 'serious' safety issue

The matching of patients to their electronic health data must be improved, according to the American Health Information Management Association, which held a town hall on the issue at its annual meeting last week in Atlanta.

"[There is a growing sense of urgency to develop a national approach and strategy to effectively deal with ongoing and significant challenges regarding patient matching. The mismatch between patients and their clinical data is a serious and growing patient safety issue," said Meryl Bloomrosen, AHIMA's vice president of thought leadership, practice excellence and public policy in a statement

The town hall participants discussed what technological and organization considerations affect patient matching, what approaches organizations are taking to improve patient matching, and the top barriers and risks to patient matching and ways to mitigate them.

Patient matching has been identified as one of the biggest challenges to health information exchange, which is a major component of Stages 2 and 3 of the Meaningful Use program.  In September 2013 ONC announced a patient matching imitative to identify best patient matching practices.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) had required unique identifiers for patients, plans and providers; the patient identifier was put on hold by Congress several years ago. The national provider identifier has been implemented; covered entities will need to use the national health plan identifier in standard transactions by November 2016.   

To learn more:
- here's AHIMA's announcement